smileys-master-classI recently held a live interactive Master Class to help with the transition of going Back to School. So let’s delve in fly on the wall stylie and find out exactly what was said. This is a transcript of the first 20 minutes of the recording to protect the member’s privacy. Here we talk about bullies, morning routine and too much homework in year 2.

Mums’ comments are in green and Smiley’s in black. Any activity which is not speaking is in italics.

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Smiley checks everybody is online and their connections are good. She encourages them to type in the comments box to say hello. She chats to them about her day while she waits for people to log on…..

“I’ve just finished coaching a really lovely little boy who doesn’t like school at all. I find this so much with lots of kids and it’s all about fun. When did learning stop being fun? It’s such a shame for those children who love to learn. So, in my coaching room, there is a lovely exercise we do: to explore and draw their fantasy school. This particular client I was working with drew a vegetable patch, a swimming pool, an animal sanctuary, a field and a table for crystals. There was a huge arts and crafts centre for building stuff – Lego. He just said: ‘I don’t enjoy school because it’s not fun but I like to learn.’ We talked about how school was fun and we thought that school was probably fun up until we were about 6 and then it got serious and stressful.

Smiley continues to shout and wave hello to the people as they join online. She jokes that she is talking so loudly, she will disturb her neighbours who were in fact, drilling earlier. What at 8 o’clock at night!! Mums dip in and out as they go about their night time routine and put the children to bed. The video is recorded so they can watch it afterwards.

I want to start off by asking you all……..

How you would describe your experience of going back to school in one word?

When I ask people this, I get a very mixed response as some people find it hard to say goodbye to the Summer because it’s all about being with their families and connecting. Whilst other children actually really look forward to going back to school because they like the routine and seeing their friends again.

It’s scary as this is my daughter’s first day – she is 4. It’s been good for us. It’s been good for my older child and a gradual introduction for my reception child. 

Yes that is scary as it’s an unknown. Lots of adjustment. You are not in a routine and you are still finding your way. Be kind and patient with yourself while you adjust. Give yourself a chance. I reckon by Christmas time, you will be fine. School routine in the morning is fraught with time constraints and transition from one task to the other – eating breakfast to brushing teeth and getting dressed. Putting shoes on all within a certain time slot. If there is more than one child and everybody is tired and somebody forgets something or you can’t find something. Plus there is less time to connect with each other and that’s vital if they don’t have that connection.

Take stock of your feelings

I think what’s really important to remember: it’s not just about how you are feeling, but it’s about how your child is feeling as well. Take stock of how you are feeling because your feelings and your energy will be feeding off each other. So if you are confident and ready to go and you feel OK about it, they will follow your lead.

Has anybody found it a really big shock to the system? If you translate back to school into adult terms, it’s like returning from a nice 2 week holiday and you come home, with all your unpacking, washing and ironing to do and you think: ‘Uhhhh I’ve work tomorrow!’ Unless you love your job of course.

It helps if the other parent is there

Does that help you to feel calmer, knowing that you are not alone and you’ve got back up there if you need it? Not so overwhelming. We have to do a lot of things on our own and that’s not easy. Is anybody doing their morning SILENCE or any of the other elements of the daily SMILE?

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I’m doing the Silence and that’s helping me have time to be ready before my child gets up.

Yes, definitely get some time and space to collect your thoughts before the day starts. That makes a massive difference to connect with yourself and set your intention.

Let’s talk about what’s going well and what’s working? If there is a massive silence, I’m assuming there is nothing good? Does anybody have time or get up early for morning snuggles? Connection is important in the morning when they have been asleep.

It helps when my child is willing to go to school that helps. Getting up early so we have enough time to do everything and aren’t rushing. Saying goodbye. Getting into school and walking to school. Preparing the night before and knowing the time table.It makes more time for in the morning.

Toothpaste on the toothbrushes, clothes laid out on the bed, bags by the door. Everything has a home so we know where the keys are, petrol in the car. Getting prepared.   

I think when they are little and they are excited and find learning a fun exploring experience, it makes going to school a breeze. They are happy to be with other children and at that point they haven’t had a negative experience about school so they are willing to go.

Let’s talk about what is not working.

Boys being mean at school

The obvious one is role modelling kindness at home and no yelling or talking through walls as I like to call it. No shouting up the stairs. Go to the person you want to speak to and respectfully communicate what you want. I find all the nice kids that are sensitive and kind or are good at everything or have got something another child wants, are soft targets for bullies. They need to learn how to set boundaries and how to not take that personally. I guess it depends how you respond to them telling you about what has happened to them. So if you start getting angry or afraid on their behalf and it’s hard for you to hear their story because it panics you, your child is going to pick up on that. It’s quite difficult when you haven’t been there to hear that story of somebody being mean to them. I’d imagine you feel as if you want to rescue them from that? However, you have to try and stay strong and show them that you believe in their ability to deal with that. That is part of life. The more they face stuff that is tricky for them, the more resilient they do become. It’s just not very nice to hear about it. You can’t be hiding behind a bush in the playground and jumping up when somebody is horrible to them. You can equip them to deal with that kind of behaviour (my Friendship Know How workshop is great for that).

Too much homework 

Ridiculous isn’t it. I’m totally empathising with you and your child. It’s like if you were in a high powered job and spent 8 hours a day at the office, you would give it your all whilst you were there and get it all done. Why would you then want to bring that home and do more of that? It’s not a good work-life balance is it? I don’t think that is role modelling how when they have worked really hard at school, they should be able to come home and learn how to down tools and relax but then they just give them more work to do. I think at that age they need more and learn through play. So do we! We get cranky if we don’t have enough play.

We can’t do anything about the homework. I mean….what are the consequences if you don’t do it? I guess your fear would be, what message are you giving if you are saying you don’t have to do it and yet that is a rule that is followed by the school? That’s a parent’s choice. I know kids that are home schooled that don’t have homework because they are learning on their time frame. I also have a client right now who supports her son in not doing his homework because it’s too stressful. I guess parents can make those choices and it’s a personal thing.

A secondary school has banned homework and I think that will start the ball rolling 

*you can read that article here* Smiley punches the air and say ‘YESSSSSS!’ with a huge smile.

It’s not about not preparing them for life. It’s more about not adding to the stress of a very busy and stressful life already. Let’s just let them be little and enjoy growing up for as long as possible. Let’s have fun at school. It’s a known fact isn’t it that we learn best when we are relaxed and creative and happy.

I always say if they want to do it they can, but if they are tired or overwhelmed then they don’t do it because life is too short

I love that! What a great approach.

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